How To Handle Another Lawyer's Legal Negligence Or Other Misconduct

If you are an attorney licensed to practice in California, you have an ethical duty to report legal malpractice behavior if you observe it or if learn of it. However, despite rigorous training in law school and through continuing legal education, it can sometimes be challenging to determine if there is actual legal malpractice, or if just a case going badly.

Robert N. Hocker, a co-founder of Browning|Hocker law firm, has more than 20 years of experience as a legal malpractice lawyer. Although he previously represented defendants, he now focuses on representing plaintiffs, so he understands all sides of this situation. He can advise you on the steps you should take if you see a legal peer engaging in troublesome or potentially inappropriate behavior with a client. He can also advise you if you suspect a client has suffered because of an incompetent act of an attorney.

Understanding What Constitutes Legal Malpractice

While the finer points of legal malpractice in a specific situation are best answered by an experienced attorney in this area, there are three basic parts to legal malpractice court cases:

  1. An attorney-client relationship
  2. The attorney acted incompetently, otherwise failed to meet the standard of care or failed to meet a contractual or fiduciary duty to the client
  3. This breach of duty must have caused harm usually in the form of a financial loss

The last point is essential if a legal malpractice lawsuit is to be viable. If a client cannot demonstrate that their lawyer's behavior caused a significant financial loss, an action for legal malpractice will not make sense in most instances.

How To Report Legal Malpractice Behavior To The State Bar Of California

Regardless of whether a lawsuit for legal malpractice is feasible against an attorney, if you witness inappropriate attorney behavior toward a client, you may file a complaint with The State Bar of California. If you have questions about the process, you may call the bar association's ethics hotline at 800-238-4427 to receive guidance on your professional responsibilities.

We Understand The Complexities Of Legal Malpractice And Attorney Misconduct

At Browning|Hocker, we use our 20 years of experience in handling legal malpractice cases to provide assessments of potential lawyer misbehavior. For a confidential consultation in the greater San Diego area, call attorney Robert N. Hocker directly at 619-235-6818, or use our online intake form.